Five Keys Review
1. Play Sound In Secondary
Arkansas’ back line, which was a question mark before the season began and raised eyebrows after the opener, was awful once again Saturday. It didn’t help that quarterback Kolton Browning created extra time with his elusiveness. But it didn’t matter. Arkansas surrendered 412 passing yards and three touchdowns in the loss.
To add to the woes: Arkansas dealt with injuries on the back line all night. Cornerback Kaelon Kelleybrew missed time with an injury before returning and leaving the game for good. Safety Rohan Gaines had to miss a couple of plays. Then cornerback Tevin Mitchell went down after the helmet-to-helmet collision.
2. Ball Security
The Razorbacks bemoaned three fumbles in the opener and vowed to take care of the ball against ULM. Arkansas didn’t lose a fumble in the loss, but each quarterback threw an interception. Tyler Wilson’s pick came on a wobbly deep ball during the first drive, which resulted in a touchdown for the Warhawks. Brandon Mitchell’s interception came late in the regulation, ending any chance the Razorbacks had of getting into field goal range in the closing seconds to avoid overtime.
Arkansas has turned the ball over five times in two games.
3. Keep Browning Contained
Browning’s scrambling ability was the difference in Saturday’s game. The junior kept plays alive with his feet all night, tucking and running or doing just enough to allow a receiver to pop open against Arkansas’ defensive backs.
It’s a big reason he threw for 412 yards and rushed for a game-high 69. It included the biggest scramble of all: Browning’s 16-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one in overtime, which wrapped up the win for the Warhawks.
4. Finish Runs
Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino believed the Razorbacks were close to breaking big plays on the ground against Jacksonville State. There was no such success against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday night, though.
Arkansas’ longest run came on a 19-yard by Knile Davis late in regulation. But the back averaged just 3.9 yards a carry. Dennis Johnson had more success, breaking 11- and 12-yard runs in the first half. He only got seven carries in the game, though, finishing with 50 yards on his limited attempts.
5. Think Scoreboard, Not Yards
Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes didn’t want his team to worry about the yards ULM would probably put up against the Hogs. He was more concerned about the scoreboard. Both were ugly in the end Saturday night, though.
ULM piled up 550 yards against a defense that couldn’t keep Browning from making plays. It led to five touchdowns – four of which in the second half and in overtime. In the end, the points and the yards played a big role in Arkansas’ tumble.
Arkansas’ lengthy run in The Associated Press top 25 poll came to an end Sunday, when the Razorbacks plummeted from No. 8 to unranked. It’s the first time since the end of the 2009 season the Razorbacks haven’t been ranked, snapping a streak of 33 straight polls. Arkansas also had been ranked in the top 10 in 12 straight AP polls.
The fall also proved to be among the worst tumbles in the history of the AP poll. Only Michigan fell further in one week, going from No. 5 to unranked after the home loss to Appalachian State in the 2007 season opener.
The coaches who vote in the USA Today poll were kinder, dropping the Hogs from No. 10 to No. 21. Arkansas is one of six SEC teams ranked, joining Alabama (No. 1), LSU (No. 2), Georgia (No. 7), South Carolina (No. 9) and Florida (No. 17).
3 — Number of times an Arkansas team ranked in the top 10 has lost to a team outside of one of college football’s power conferences, according to HogDatabase.com. Tulsa knocked top 10 Arkansas teams in 1946 (14-13) and 1971 (21-20). ULM became the third with the 34-31 win against No. 8 Arkansas.
5 — Arkansas rushing attempts in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Razorbacks managed 28 rushing yards on those five attempts, most of which came on a 19-yard run by Knile Davis in the final minute of regulation. Arkansas, meanwhile, attempted 15 passes during the same time period while clinging to their lead.
481 – Total yards for ULM quarterback Kolton Browning (412 passing, 69 rushing). It was the most allowed by the Razorbacks in a single game, eclipsing a mark held by former Houston quarterback David Klingler in 1990 (457 passing, 16 rushing). Browning’s 67 passing attempts also set a record against the Hogs, equaling a mark held by former Kentucky quarterback Tim Couch (67).
1993 — The last time Arkansas had lost a nonconference game in Little Rock. The Razorbacks suffered a 6-0 loss to Memphis during Danny Ford’s first season with the program. Arkansas had won 20 straight nonconference games in War Memorial Stadium before Saturday’s loss to Louisiana-Monroe.
Bouncing back won’t be easy for Arkansas with top-ranked Alabama coming to Razorback Stadium on Saturday.
Alabama has simply cruised through two games, outscoring Michigan and Western Kentucky by a combined 76-14. The Crimson Tide, which won the 2011 national championship, has won five straight against the Razorbacks.
It includes the 24-20 win in Fayetteville two years ago, when Arkansas built an early lead but couldn’t hold on. Alabama also beat Arkansas 38-14 last season, beating up quarterback Tyler Wilson and the Razorbacks’ offense in a lopsided game.
“I really can’t believe it,” Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino
— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau